Le tour de Tacoma

This is how it all began … kind of. More to the point, Tacoma was the first ride I traveled for this year, back in late February. It rekindled an addiction.

South Puget Sound

A panoramic-format image of southern Puget Sound along Tacoma's waterfront, looking west.

I’ve had a cycling guide book for years, which I’ll review in a future post. Bored and frustrated with Seattle’s rainy season, this book that’s been on my shelf so long I can’t even remember where or when I got it came down, and gave me a good idea. On a soggy Saturday, I mounted my rain bike on the roof, and drove to Tacoma. Irony of ironies, the weather cleared as I went south, until I parked, got out of the car, and basked in the sun. I could have brought my nice bike!

Looking out at the southern end of Puget Sound

Vashon Island and Puget Sound from Point Defiance.

Before I left, I had dutifully copied the ride directions onto a cue sheet. Out on the road, I would try to remember the next two or three turns, and stop occasionally after making one of them to learn what would come ahead. It wasn’t long before I went to pull my directions out of my back pocket and found them missing. The wind is a good thief! I was reduced to asking passers-by for directions!

My tour began downtown, and followed the waterfront to Point Defiance. This is a wonderful park! From here, I managed to find my way back to town, in a loop instead of by retracing my “steps,” but I didn’t find as scenic a ride as the book had suggested. One day, I’ll return.

This wound up being about a 25 mile ride, with 1,600 feet of elevation gain.  I had planned on 30 miles with about the same amount of climbing.  I should have left the park (Point Defiance) to the south, passing The Narrows, and returned through the university.  Instead, I pedaled through residential neighborhoods, until I was at the base of a long, steep descent back to the edge of downtown.

You can tell it's a rain bike because of the fenders

The remains of an old pier stand tall at low tide.

The sometimes choppy Colvos Passage

The Colvos Passage between the peninsula and Vashon Island.

The Bridges from Point Defiance

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, from Point Defiance, and the brilliant sun I'd have missed out on if I stayed in Seattle.


4 thoughts on “Le tour de Tacoma

  1. Your cycling guide book has interesting and beautiful routes. Looking forward to see the other suggestions it will give.
    Whenever I heard about Seattle the first thing that comes into my mind is Nirvana and the grunge scene and of course, the famous wet weather.

  2. We play up our rainy reputation a lot – I thought about calling this blog “Cycling the Pacific NorthWET” instead. But that seemed like it might be inviting disaster! A local group (Blue Scholars) has a line in one of their songs, where they let the truth out: the region’s “best kept” is that there’s nothing like summer in the northwest.

    I’m putting some pics together from another ride out of this book – hopefully I’ll have them posted today or tomorrow. I found another cycling guide book at the used book store, with more great ideas. I feel a little weird looking to guide books for my own region, but, hey, it’s a big place, and you have to learn where to explore somehow. 😀

  3. Thanks!

    You should most definitely visit the Pacific Northwest. From Hurricane Ridge, you can see glaciated mountains, salt water, and even southern Canada. We’re a bit like California, in that you can ski in the morning and swim in the ocean the same afternoon… but we’re less crowded. 😉

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